Tom Gordon today:
Asked if she believed that sending more than 900 untested hospital patients into care homes may have been a contributory factor in the crisis, she said: “If I apply hindsight to that, I come to a different conclusion.” At the briefing, the First Minister tried to row back on the comment, saying she had been speaking “in general terms”. But she was then reminded that she had in fact been asked specifically about the 921 delayed discharge transfers. Then asked if patients might have gone into care homes, contracted the virus there and subsequently died, she replied: “I cannot say that for certain. I’m sure that is one thing we will want to absolutely look at and ask very serious questions about. “But equally nor can I absolutely say that that will not be the case.”
So, the FM is agreeing that the transfer may have been a contributory factor. What might the other factors have been? Well how about these:
- Temporary or agency staff moving between homes from as far away as Kent
- Inadequate infection control practices in the care homes
- Lack of PPE or PPE locked-away in some homes or diverted to English care homes
- Lack of staff cover in homes charging £1 000 per person per week
- Visits from relatives before the lock-down delayed by wrong advice from Public Health England
There is no evidence that the transfers spread the virus in the homes nor is there evidence that it exposed those transferred to the disease. Given the responsibility of the home management for isolation measures, it would be their responsibility if an infection ocurred.
The FM did seem to be admitting that the transfers may have been a contributory factor but that is not the same thing as admitting they may have led to deaths.
Far more likely to have led to the deaths is the widespread movement of temporary staff between care homes and between their own social circles. Gordon knows this well because he reported on the 18th May that the Health Secretary said:
The evidence I have relied on to make that decision is that the route for the virus into a care home primarily will be those who work in the care home, because they will be the people going in and out most from the community.